I'm taking my 13-year-old granddaughter to London in June. We will be staying at a B & B and hope to "wing" it during the day but will be going to the theater and ballet at night. Do you have any suggestions other than the obvious?
-Peggy, Los Angeles
To get out of the ordinary and have some bonding time with your granddaughter, try strolling through London's hidden, private gardens. Located on Kensington High Street, the Roof Gardens offers panoramic views of London's skyline with one-and-a-half acres of three themed gardens: the Spanish, Tudor, and Woodland Gardens.
While the Spanish Garden has a luxurious Court of Fountains, the Tudor Garden is covered in traditional stones, and the Woodland Garden features a quiet stream. For availability and prices, visit www.roofgardens.com
For an unusual experience, consider visiting a cemetery, the Kensal Green. One of London's oldest public burial grounds, the Kensal Green has 75 acres of trees, plants, and wildflowers and is home to foxes and more than 33 species of birds. An interesting tidbit about this hidden gem: More than 500 members of the British aristocracy have been buried in the Kensal Green. Their number includes George III's son, the Duke of Sussex, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Sophia. For hours and tour information (it’s just $10), visit www.kensalgreen.co.uk.
For about $70 per person, have a London tea party with your daughter at places not so common for tourists. At the Berkeley Hotel, be creative with "Pret-a-Portea,” an afternoon tea service inspired by the fashion of such designers as Marc Jacobs, Zac Posen, and Valentino. Some menus feature “couture” cakes and include a small mint-green handbag with pink handles and a Manolo Blahnik high-heeled shoe. Visit www.berkeleyhotel.co.uk
Tea in London offers a more eclectic experience at Chor Bazaar, which means "thieves market." An Indian restaurant that specializes in Kashmiri cuisine, Chor Bazaar is a distinct food adventure that serves Wazwan, the legendary ceremonial feast of 36 courses. The restaurant features an Indian tea bar, called Chai Bazaar, which gives various choices on unusual teas. For hours and prices, visit www.chorbizarrerestaurant.com/london